If you're just starting your ab-sculpting journey, you're likely wondering what exercises will be the most effective additions to your routine. There are many ab exercises out there ranging from super basic to advanced. It can be challenging to select just the right ones, but that's where we swoop in to help. We have 11 of the best ab exercises for beginners to melt belly fat and tighten, firm, and sculpt this area of the body.
What makes an ab exercise effective? Well, it teaches you how to engage your core, allows you to keep tension there, and avoids compensating with other muscles such as your lower back. Once you build up your core strength with basic movements, you can move on to more advanced versions.
Here are the 11 best ab exercises for beginners. Read on to learn more, and when you're finished, be sure to check out 10 Best Exercises To Melt Lower Belly Fat.
This list of the best ab exercises for beginners starts with the side plank. Assume a side plank position by stacking your feet and keeping your shoulders aligned with your wrists. Lift your hips up and forward while bracing your abs.
If the regular side plank position is too challenging to hold, you can start with the bent knee version while you build up your core strength. Aim to complete three to four sets of 20 to 30-second reps on each side.
First into a pushup position on your forearms. Keeping your core tight, lift your hips up to where your body is parallel to the ground. Squeeze your glutes, tuck your pelvis slightly, and hold the position while maintaining tension in your abs. Aim to complete three to four sets of 20 to 30-second reps on each side.
Hollow Body Holds
Lie flat on your back with your arms extended over your head and your feet out straight and together. Begin by pressing your lower back into the floor and slightly curl up while lifting your legs and arms above the air. Your body should be in the shape of a banana. Hold the position for the prescribed time, and be sure to keep tension in your core at all times. Do not to compensate with your lower back.
If this exercise is too challenging, you can make it easier by raising both legs and arms higher until you get the strength to have it lower. Aim to complete three to four sets of 15 to 20-second holds.
Lie flat on your back with your feet at least six inches off the ground. Press your hands into the ground, and curl your body up with your ribs pulled down. With your core tight, begin kicking your legs up and down as if you're swimming. Maintain tension in your abs the entire time of the movement. Aim to complete three to four sets of 20 to 30 reps.
Start by getting into a pushup position. Your feet should be fully extended and your shoulders aligned with your wrists. Keep your core tight as you take one knee and drive it toward your chest, flexing your obliques. Return your leg to the pushup position before repeating the motion with the other leg. Alternate back and forth, maintaining tension in your core the entire time. Aim to complete three to four sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Lie down on a mat, and make sure to keep your lower back flat. With a tight core, raise your feet back toward your torso, flexing your abs hard. Slowly lower your legs to the floor while keeping tension in your core. Aim to complete three to four sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Start the dead bug on your back with your fingers pointed toward the ceiling and your knees up, forming 90-degree angels. Inhale as you fill your belly with air, and pull your ribs down so that your lower back presses into the ground. Take one of your arms and the opposite leg, and lower them just above the floor. Then, exhale while keeping tension in your core. Bring the arm/leg back up, and repeat with the opposite side. Aim to complete three to four sets of four to five reps per side.
Assume a tabletop position, keeping your knees aligned with your hips and your shoulders in line with your wrists. Brace your core as you extend one arm in front of you and the opposite leg behind you. Keep your body in a straight line. Bring the arm and leg back in before doing the next rep. Finish all reps on one side before switching over. Aim to complete three to four sets of five reps per side.
Lie down flat on your back. Rotate your body up by taking one elbow and bringing it toward the opposite knee. Fully extend the other leg by reaching your heel straight out. Flex your abs hard as you finish, then repeat with the opposite side. Aim to complete three to four sets of 20 to 30 reps.
Straight Leg Sit-Ups
This exercise starts by lying flat on your back with your feet extended and your arms above your head. Keeping your core tight, curl your body up while keeping your arms straight in front of you. Flex your abs hard at the end to finish, then lower yourself slowly back down to the ground under control, maintaining tension in your abs. Aim to complete three to four sets of 10 reps.
Plank Shoulder Taps
This list of the best ab exercises for beginners wraps up with plank shoulder taps. Assume a pushup position with your shoulders in line with your wrists and your hips high. Keep your core tight as you take one hand and reach for the opposite shoulder. Touch your shoulder, then bring your hand back to the starting position and reach with the other. While you're performing this movement, keep your glutes squeezed and your back as straight as possible. Aim to complete three to four sets of 10 reps per side.